Also known as chapathi, plain paratha is an unleavened bread that’s made with wheat flour. The dough is folded over a couple of times giving it a puffy, layered, and flaky texture. Parathas are a staple of Indian vegetarian meals.
Servings: 4-5 (makes 10 parathas)
Cooking Time: 30-40 minutes
- 2 cups wheat flour
- (chapathi flour/atta)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil for coating the dough
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil or ghee (clarified ghee) for cooking
- 1/2 cup wheat flour for rolling
- In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add water, a little at a time, to make a soft dough. Knead the dough for 4-5 minutes. The dough should be soft but not sticky, and should hold an impression of your fingertips when pressed. Add a little flour if the dough is sticky. Coat the dough with 1 tsp oil, cover and set aside for 10-15 minutes.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, coat your hands with a little oil and knead the dough for a couple of minutes.
- Heat a tava, (iron or nonstick griddle) on medium-high heat.
- While the griddle is heating up, divide the dough into 10 equal portions and roll each portion between your palms to form a smooth ball. Cover and set aside.
- Place one of the dough balls on a lightly floured surface, and with a rolling pin, roll it to a 3-inch circle. Brush the top evenly with oil, and fold over to form a semi-circle. Brush the top of this semi-circle with oil, and fold in half again to form a triangle. Roll it out approximately 3 more inches to make a larger triangle, about 7-8 inches, and 1/16-inch thick.
- Make sure the tava or griddle is hot (sprinkle a few drops of water, if the water evaporates quickly, the tava is ready.) Add 1/4 tsp oil to the tava to coat it evenly and wipe off with a paper towel or kitchen towel.
- Place the plain paratha on the tava. After 10 seconds, when it starts to puff up a bit, turn it over with a spatula. Brush oil evenly over the paratha. Turn it over again, and brush oil on top. Press on the edges of the paratha with the spatula to make it puff up, and cook on both sides for 5-10 seconds, until you see brown spots on both sides. Remove on a plate.
- Repeat with the remaining dough, adjusting the heat as necessary.
- Serve the plain paratha immediately. Parathas taste best hot off the griddle. If you need to store them, stack one on top of the other, and wrap in foil to keep them warm for a couple of hours.
If you don’t have chapathi flour, you can use 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour and 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour.
You can use a food processor to mix the dough. Combine the flour, salt, and oil, and pulse until crumbly. With the machine running, add the water through the feed tube steadily and process until the dough comes together into a ball, and comes off the sides of the bowl.
Chapathis stay fresh for a day when wrapped in foil or stored in a covered container. If you want to store them for a longer period, wipe the parathas gently with paper towels to absorb any moisture, and then wrap in foil and refrigerate. They remain fresh for up to 2 days. To serve, thaw for 5 -10 minutes and heat them up on the griddle.